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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


RK-55 Granat / 3K10 / SSC-X-4 Slingshot

Development of the land-based version designated RK-55 (SSC-X-4) began in December 1976, along with the air-launched Kh-55 (AS-15) and submarine-launched S-10 (SS-N-21) cruise missiles. The RK-55 was intended to be a nuclear strike weapon for the Eurasian theater to complement the Pioner (SS-20) missile. Had the missile system been deployed, it would probably have followed operational procedures similar to those of the Pioner IRBM.

The missile cruised at an altitude of 40 to 200 meters and had a CEP of about 150 meters. It used the Sprut guidance system and BSU-55 control system that performed terrain following flight. The turbofan engine was developed by Soyuz KB.

The launch vehicle was based on a MAZ-543M (MAZ-7310) 8x8 truck chassis and carried six missile tubes. A total of 84 missiles and six launch vehicles had been produced by November 1987.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was signed on December 8, 1987 in Washington, D.C. by President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. It was ratified and entered into force on June 1, 1988 at the Moscow Summit. The treaty eliminated an entire class of ground-launched intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles and their launchers and prohibits possession of such systems thereafter. It covers missile systems with ranges equal to or in excess of 500 kilometers (km), but not in excess of 5,500 km. Two missiles that had been tested but not deployed were incorporated into the treaty because of their ranges. These were the U.S. Pershing lB missile and the Soviet SSC-X-4 cruise missile. As of June 1, 1988, none of the Pershing lBs existed and only 80 SSC-X-4s had been produced for testing.

On 17 July 1988, Lt. Colonel Paul H. Nelson, U.S. Army, led an American inspection team to the industrial city of Sverdlovsk, where they conducted an INF baseline/closeout inspection of the Experimental Plant of the Amalgamated Production Works of the M.I. Kalinin Machine Building Plant. This plant formerly had produced SSC-X-4 missile launchers; the Soviet Union had listed the plant in the MOU, but had not included any data in the initial data exchange. By deduction, this meant that the Soviet government had declared officially that all production of INF missile launchers had ceased at the plant.

Colonel Nelson's 10-person team inspected the plant, signed the inspection reports, and met briefly with reporters. An interviewer with Vremya, the Moscow-based national television news program, asked E.I. Krayniy, plant engineer, about the American INF inspection. "The U.S. inspectors," he replied, "carried out an inspection of the territory and the installations of the experimental works.... All conditions of the treaty have been complied with."

The RK-55 (SSC-X-4) was destroyed in compliance with INF disarmament negotiations. Elimination of the Soviet SSC-X-4 cruise missile system was completed 05 October 1988. The nondeployed SSC-X-4 missiles and launchers were destroyed at Jelgava.

Dismantlement procedures for the SSC-X-4 missile required that the missile airframe be cut longitudinally into two pieces; wings and tail section shall be severed from missile airframe at locations that are not assembly joints; and the front section, minus nuclear warhead device and guidance elements, shall be crushed or flattened. The Launch Canister was crushed, flattened, cut into two pieces of approximately equal size or destroyed by explosion.

The Launcher erector-launcher mechanism was removed from launcher chassis. All components of the erector-launcher mechanism were cut at locations that are not assembly joints into two pieces of approximately equal size. The missile launch support equipment, including external instrumentation compartments, was removed from launcher chassis. The mountings of erector-launcher mechanism and launcher leveling supports were cut off launcher chassis. The launcher leveling supports were cut at locations that are not assembly joints into two pieces of approximately equal size, and the launcher chassis was severed at a location determined by measuring no more than 0.70 meters rearward from the rear axle.



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